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10 Δεκ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 10 μήνες)

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P OS TMORTEM

HOW WE LAUNCHED A NEW IP AT EA

OUTLINE

Greenlighting a new IP at EA

o

Studio starting point

o

Getting gameplay right

o

Making Scary

o

Guerillas

o

Life on a string: Demo’s and slices

o

Greenlight


IT IS JAN 2006

DEAD SPACE STARTING POINT



Studio habits soaked in licensed IP


IT IS JAN 2006

DEAD SPACE STARTING POINT



Last new IP from EARS was “Road Rash”




1991




Almost no engine to work with

Stone Knives

Bearskins

Us

IT IS JAN 2006

DEAD SPACE STARTING POINT


We Have “Rancid Moon” for our
Starting Point

It’s his idea

IT IS JAN 2006

DEAD SPACE STARTING POINT


We are not greenlit



You are here


IT IS JAN 2006

DEAD SPACE STARTING POINT


EA was eager, if not confident, about getting into new IP




Glen pitched his idea for Dead Space to the EA Execs at the time.




It didn’t suck.




He got to hand
-
pick a small, highly senior team.




He was budgeted for 3 months. Bring back some fire. Or die.




We’re off!





IT IS JAN 2006

DEAD SPACE STARTING POINT


GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


INNOVATION


Don’t reinvent literally everything


There’s not enough time.


Or money.


Engineers and Designers when told
their “new IP” will not invent

water, dirt or the wheel.


This is upsetting to some people

Start with a template


Published games will do. RE4 anyone?

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Start with a template


Published games will do. RE4 anyone?


They’re like a giant present with a bow on it:



Answered questions



Tuning wisdom



Man
-
years of feature iteration and polish


INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Fearlessly use standardized features



If too much is new, people get “lost”.


People need familiarity to enable enjoyment.


There is a “just right” amount of new stuff.

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Fearlessly use standardized features



Yesterdays Innovation


Today’s standard

Stay current or


奯甠㴠䙡楬

FIRE

MOVE

CAMERA

EQUIPMENT SELECT

Controller layouts

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Fearlessly use standardized features

Engineers and Designers when told
their one infallible controller scheme
will not be used in their “new IP”

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Fearlessly use standardized features




Camera conventions


talk about a minefield



Health Packs



Ammo Drops



Currency and Upgrade conventions



Accepted Aiming and Firing Mechanics



Then get some distance


Pick and own significant differentiating features


Or, as some would call it....“Innovate”

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT




Count innovations on one hand



Pursue state
-
of
-
the
-
art, flawless execution






1


2


3


4


5

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


DEAD SPACE


in the
FUTURE
, in
SPACE



HOLOGRAMS




Define your competitive advantage(s)




INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


HOLOGRAMS



In
-
world HUD


“HUD
-
less” Interface

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Future + Mining Tools =

Weapons

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Space:
Zero
-
Gravity



Movement, Combat, Puzzles

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


Space + Future =
Planetcracking!

City
-
sized Ships!

INNOVATION


BEFORE

Zombie Lore: Head Shot


DISMEMBERMENT


SHOOT HERE!

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT



AFTER


SHOOT HERE!

Zombie Lore: Head Shot


DISMEMBERMENT

INNOVATION

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


TRUST BUT VERIFY



How do you know these decisions will pay off?


PROTOTYPE


FOCUS TEST




GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


PROTOTYPING


Our single biggest “Ah HA!”


Build things immediately



Get pixels on the screen



Assemble teams functionally towards this



Use whatever engine is “lying around”. We did. Literally.

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


PROTOTYPING


Our single biggest “Ah HA!”


Build things immediately



Get pixels on the screen



Assemble teams functionally towards this



Use whatever engine is “lying around”. We did. Literally.



Answers come from trying, not (just) thinking


“Plans” are worthless. “Planning” is priceless


Complete reversal from previous cultures

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


FOCUS TESTING



Oh my God! Look! A surprising result!



Our Controls are too sluggish for current expectations



3 times in a row



WHAT DO WE DO?!



Ignore it



Want flaccidly to do something about it and then ultimately not



Obey it


Choose correctly. Surpass your template.


EP + Belief = Results

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


FOCUS TESTING




When all else fails, use your Mentat


Telemetry was broken. No death maps, ammo or health data,
weapon use stats, etc.




BRET ROBBINS single
-
handedly tuned the game....with his MIND.




Frankly, quite eerie.





I will not be forgiven

for using this picture.

So I’ll use this one instead

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


POLISH




Everyone knows it



Few do it



Accounts for real metacritic points



We scheduled time for polish. And didn’t cut it later.



MAKE IT HAPPEN

POLISH > FEATURES

GETTING GAMEPLAY RIGHT


FANTASY FULFILMENT

MAKING SCARY



Action Adventure, FPS: Gears 2




High testosterone, Alpha
-
male
fantasy fulfillment




Kick
-
ass, bigger than life




Better than you




Strategically in control





Not necessarily scary

Survival Horror: Dead Space




Regular people surviving
extraordinary circumstances




Underpowered, realistic to life




Just like you, maybe weaker




Overwhelmed by amazing, surreal
circumstances




Very scary.


Action Adventure, FPS: Gears 2




High testosterone, Alpha
-
male
fantasy fulfillment




Kick
-
ass, bigger than life




Better than you




Strategically in control





Not necessarily scary

SEGMENTING HORROR



Boo



Cheap, easy to do



Wears out instantly


Dread



Requires more design, planning and talent



Requires training player on audio / visual cues



Wears well. Cues more effective with use



Offers large opportunities for misdirection


White
-
knuckle survival



Immediate, visceral experience



Threat of death very present while fighting



Creates apprehension


MAKING SCARY


BELIEVABILITY




Deep personal association




Relatable events, settings




Familiar reality




Their pain = yours

FANTASY




Awe and wonder




Incredible events, settings




Skewed, stretched reality




May be you, may be not.

HORROR

SCI
-
FI

DO NOT MIX

MAKING SCARY


BELIEVABILITY




Deep personal association




Relatable events, settings




Familiar reality


SCIENCE




Hard Science futurism only




Background Canvas




Believable reality


HORROR

SCI
-
FI

RECONCILED

Their pain = yours

MAKING SCARY


IMMERSION


BELIEVABILITY


SCARY

MAKING SCARY


HUD
-
less Interface


Health Bar worn on back


IMMERSION

MAKING SCARY


MAKING SCARY


IMMERSION

HUD
-
less Interface


Health Bar worn on back

Stasis meter worn on back

Ammo counter = hologram

Air timer = hologram




Ammo counter

Air meter

Health bar

Stasis meter

“Hard Science”


No Magic

MAKING SCARY


IMMERSION

HUD
-
less Interface


Health Bar worn on back

Stasis meter worn on back

Ammo counter = hologram

Air timer = hologram

Door switches = holograms

MAKING SCARY


IMMERSION

HUD
-
less Interface


Health Bar worn on back

Stasis meter worn on back

Ammo counter = hologram

Air timer = hologram

Door switches = holograms

Video logs = real time, real space

MAKING SCARY


No pause with inventory


Real time, real space


MAKING SCARY


IMMERSION


No cutscenes


MAKING SCARY


IMMERSION

Key tactics with lighting


Parallaxing







MAKING SCARY


Key tactics with lighting


Uncomfortable light sources

MAKING SCARY


Key tactics with Audio




Intermittent Fear Emitters (unpredictability)




Positional “real
-
world” ambient sounds were contrasted
with swirling “in
-
your
-
head” sounds




Dynamic contrast: e.g., small defines large, soft creates
loud




Pensive soundscape: creaking ship, indeterminate
banging hull sounds, clattering tools somewhere in the
darkness, echoing dying crewmembers






MAKING SCARY


Sound as a character

MAKING SCARY


MAKING SCARY

Iteration



Focus


This sequence took the whole team’s focus for
several weeks.




MAKING SCARY


Scary does not demo or focus test well


Go with your gut


We got scare
-
blind quickly.

Didn’t realize how scary final game would be perceived.




MAKING SCARY


GLEN AND THE FALLING FRACKING BODY


Glen was obsessed with the idea of a body falling out of the ceiling.


Every meeting, for 2 ½ years:

“What if.....a BODY....fell out!?”


It was not scary. It was funny.


It also shipped. That was funny too.

MAKING SCARY


MAKING SCARY

GUERILLA EARS


AGGRESSIVE, obnoxious, Internal PR Campaign



Posters at other game’s press events



Showed live code & concept art at every chance



Treated game like it was already greenlit



Built momentum towards shipping, not greenlighting



Scheduled long term

IP3

Hey, you can’t cancel this!

There’s a Comic! And a Movie! And a Suit!

Comic Movie Concept Book Suit

GUERILLA EARS


Demo’s were a way of life



Forcing functions



“Show it or get canceled” mentality



Rarely spun out



Very little throw
-
away code


First one took about 3 months


“Stay of execution” every 6 months


Final stretch was a “Vertical Slice”

LIFE ON A STRING

Demos and Slices


Vertical Slice



A completely polished bite
-
size serving of the whole game
.


Proves
product quality
beyond doubt.

Your
own present with a bow on top!

Forces early answers:




Content pipelines, visual bar, audio,
metagame
, pickups, UI/HUD
,


mission structure, tuning
pass

Exponential accelerator



18 months for 1 level. 10 months for the other 11.





LIFE ON A STRING

Demos and Slices


GREENLIGHT

DEAD SPACE was Greenlit in April 2007, after 1.5 years of
development, based on the strength of our
Vertical Slice
.

You are here


GREENLIGHT

Grown men cry

Q & A